I love photographing people. The endless emotions and expressions they exhibit are a challenge to capture in a photograph. In the above photograph PD and Ariel were very easy to photograph. Sometimes there is a natural response to the camera and the photographs I have taken of them exude that spontaneity.

Other times when you aren’t planning anything, a photograph
just happens as with the photograph below that I took of Jimmy and Ray.

My daughter Ashley is naturally beautiful. I am proud of her and love her.

Landon, my son the Marine reservist, as he prepared at that time to leave for war in Iraq.  He makes me proud and I love him. Fortunately, his unit’s activation was called off at the last moment.

The face below of an unknown farm worker.  Ready to pick crops for a country that is divided on the issue of illegal farm workers. Some defend their work here, while others vilify them. There should be no illegal aliens in this country of any type, I don’t think anyone can argue about that. Name a reasonable country that promotes illegal immigration. The real issue is that migrant farm workers pick our crops and they are often times taken advantage of in the work environment. They work extremely hard in jobs that traditional Americans frown upon.

Asparagus 081bw

But is my discourse just an impractical set of empty words? I have had the honor and pleasure of working side by side with migrant farm workers. The work is  hard and long. Exhaustion is a way of life.

During those long hours together one finds out a lot about a person. I must say that I was most impressed by their friendly, generous nature. They endure working conditions most Americans would find unacceptable and they work to make a better life for themselves and their family both near and far. How do you find fault with that?

That many are here illegally is a problem. Some believe rounding them up and deporting them is imperative. To others deportation”looks good on paper” but the reality is they are here working for themselves and for all Americans. Be prepared to plant a fruit and vegetable garden and pick it yourself if the extremists ever get their way. It would be a mistake to deport these people unless they have committed a “traditional” crime. The crime of coming here and working themselves in some cases to death, is less important to me than getting things “proper”. Proper to me would be documenting them and allowing them to work here legally.

Agricultural work is dangerous. Take a trip to farm country such as the Central Valley of California or the Lower Yakima Valley of Washington, and visit a big box store.  The overwhelming majority of customers, particularly on Sunday afternoon, will more than likely be migrant farm workers.  Step back for a moment and observe.  Reach past the innuendo  and stereotypes.

A family shops for produce. To brighten the entrance to home a  young mother buys a pot of mums. Perhaps a teenage daughter is coming of age and needs a new dress. Soccer season is soon approaching and new cleats must be purchased.  These scenes are repeated countless times in communities all across our great land.

But look again deeper into the heart and lives of migrant farm workers. A young man in his twenties, once full of energy, who perhaps started picking asparagus with his entire family when he was seven or eight years old,  now walks with a severe limp due to a farm accident that crushed his leg. Grasping an apple,  a woman who once picked them for a living is now holding the fruit with the three remaining fingers on her good hand.  Repetitive motion injury to a migrant farm worker is as regular as the rising and the setting of the sun.

We wonder why wave after wave of aliens come to this country to work even at grave peril. How sad their life must have been in their home country that they would risk so much. Love of family and the potential rewards must be greater than the dangers they face or they wouldn’t continue their journey.

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Contact Bob Powers: sicilyislandhills@yahoo.com
"Help Girls in Rwanda" is a link to the website of a group from Seattle, Washington created by Jessica Markowitz that raises money to help girls that have been devastated by the strife in Rwanda. Through this groups efforts, young girls who might otherwise be unable to become educated, are empowered to go to school. Please donate generously.
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